From: Jeffrey W. Flaten
The notion that our country was approaching energy independence took a setback this winter when propane prices soared to record heights, leaving individuals and family farms struggling to get by. The reasons have been discussed by state and federal leaders, and short-term aid has been allocated to low income people and rural America. Yet, I wonder, will this happen again?
After reading and researching this topic, Iíve concluded the main problem is the increased exports of propane from America to other countries. The propane profiteers, as I like to call them, could see the perfect storm brewing with the late fall harvest and distribution problems looming. With the increased exports of propane, suppliers had the chance to gouge to the hilt. The nonsense came to a resolution when members of Congress asked the President of the United States to limit propane exports. When the President came a-calling, funny how the propane profiteers reacted.
Maybe Iím going against the grain a little, considering Iím a progressive sort, but approving the Keystone XL pipeline seems like a slam dunk. In fact, building new and replacing old pipelines might be one way to avoid future propane shortages. Iím sure some of my progressive friends will fight the Keystone pipeline to the end and the White House appears likely to drag this out until Iím 50 years old, but it seems like the common sense thing to do for America.
Furthermore, the growing concern about transporting volatile Bakken crude oil from North Dakota around our country by rail seems like an opportunity to promote and invest in pipelines. In the short-term, we need to find safe and reliable means to transport our energy to all of America. The goal, in the long-term, is to wean ourselves from fossil fuels. This goal might not be achieved for 30 or 40 years, but itís worth our best efforts. When we get there someday, then we can truly say weíre energy independent.